The windows closing in mid-September aren’t just from the weather dropping. The year is coming into focus with a shrinking ability to shape what it will look like as Q4 rises into view.
The good news is that digital marketing is digital; you can still do things on multiple dimensions to make an impact before year-end. Here are ten ideas:
1 – Elevate your best voices: Create a series of video clips starring your employees, your sales team, or your customers. I wrote about the urgency of having and deploying a video strategy a month ago, did anyone act on it? These videos, a proven format for persuasion, can serve as testimonials to improve consideration when you’re on a shortlist, or present new use cases for your products.
Likely impact: Improve conversion on existing leads
2 – Amplify your story: Tinker with your company page on the web. As you’ve heard me rant, your “About” page is an underutilized marketing asset. You might lead with your purpose which you already publish on internal documents or in new hire orientation but now share that publicly with stakeholders who want to know why they should do business with you. You might extend your existing narrative deeper into the people who support your brand or the needs you serve like no one else. You might share data about your category, positioning yourself more deeply as the expert.
Likely impact: Improve reputation
3 – Deepen your relationships: Send a thank you note to current customers. In most categories I’ve worked, there is a myth that brands send too many emails; whenever we research this, we find the opposite — customers don’t hear enough relevant info from the companies with whom they do business. Depending on your objective, this missive could range from a love letter thanking them for their business or sharing product news to a renewal incentive or a survey that shows you’re listening. The goal is to solidify the relationships you have a little bit more. If you’re lucky, they’ll write back.
Likely impact: Improve loyalty
4 – Find new customers through your customers: Develop an incentive for existing customers to pass on. It’s a growth strategy pioneered by disruptors, cultivating audiences versus buying en masse with traditional advertising. Done right, it can be incredibly efficient and effective.
Likely impact: Acquisition, earn new trials
5 – Get smarter: Do a piece of research to understand why things are the way they are, or where things are going in your industry, or with a critical segment. Many reports highlight the shortage of customer insight within companies. Finding out and sharing more will help all of us.
Likely impact: Attract attention now, influence planning for Q1 2020
6 – Grow the future early: Use time to your advantage. Digital tools, incentives and channels can help take customers out of the market earlier. If you’re selling products, incentivize customers to buy ahead of time or even lock in with a subscriptions. If you’re selling a service, solve a problem now you know customers will have later.
Likely impact: Advance cash flow, protect against Q2 downturn or competition
7- Foster goodwill: Do an account checkup with your top customers. Make sure they’ve taken advantage of all the benefits of your product or the knowledgeable of your team and brand. You might help them right-size their product mix or encourage them to redeem rewards, but this should not be an upsell.
Likely impact: Increase loyalty, lifetime value
8 – Find one thing to stop: Part of effectiveness is focus. My colleague Fred Geyer advises to “Stop something that you’ve learned doesn’t work. Stop it now, instead of waiting till end of year.”
Likely impact: Precious hours and resources to focus on something else
9 – Get personal: Geyer also suggest a sprint to a personalization test you can scale next year. We know from research, including Altimeter’s recent 2019 State of Digital Marketing, that companies are seeking to engage in more data-driven targeting and personalization.
Likely impact: Higher response rate (+scalable in 2020)
10 – Rally your village: Don’t go it alone. Hold a half-day session with your immediate team to identify opportunities to accelerate growth in second half of the year. Invite stakeholders from related groups including customer care, product, sales, operations and brand. Do follow-up session before Thanksgiving.
Likely impact: Surface quick win tactics, increased collaboration for 2020
Many of these ideas may beg for a business case, collaboration with other groups (customer care, sales teams) and some incremental resources and sweat, but most of all, they require speed and agility. The longer one waits to commit to an action and get started, the sooner the “What did we accomplish this year” question arrives.